March 5, 2018 / 7:21 AM / 5 months ago

China stocks largely flat as parliament meeting kicks off

* Shanghai stocks higher, blue-chip CSI300 index up

* China’s A-shares at 29.74 pct premium over H-shares

SHANGHAI, March 5 (Reuters) - China stocks were little changed on Monday, the first day of the country’s annual meeting of parliament where few surprises are expected. ** Investors also expect less volatility as Beijing tends to maintain stability in the markets during such key meetings. ** China aims to expand its economy by around 6.5 percent this year, the same as in 2017, while pressing ahead with its campaign to reduce risks in the financial system, Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday at the opening of the annual National People’s Congress (NPC). ** “China’s 2018 major economic targets reflect that policymakers are confident of this year’s growth momentum despite a tightening bias in both monetary and fiscal policy,” ANZ wrote in a note. ** Real estate shares firmed somewhat, after Premier Li said China aims to pursue “stable and healthy development” of the property market in 2018 with an increased focus on providing affordable housing and developing the rental market. ** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 3.00 points or 0.1 percent at 3,254.53. ** The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.05 percent, with its financial sector sub-index gaining 0.05 percent. The consumer staples sector was down 1.49 percent while the real estate index rose 0.33 percent and the healthcare sub-index gained 1.06 percent. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 0.47 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 1.34 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.98 percent while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.66 percent. ** At 07:02 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.3332 per U.S. dollar, 0.07 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.3379. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Henan Ancai Hi-tech Co Ltd up 10.04 percent, followed by Pci-Suntek Technology Co Ltd gaining 9.99 percent and Yonyou Network Technology Co Ltd up by 9.99 percent. ** The largest percentage losers in the Shanghai index were FangDa Carbon New Material Co Ltd, down 9.92 percent, followed by ShanXi Coking Co Ltd, down 8.33 percent, and Xinjiang Ba Yi Iron & Steel Co Ltd, down 6.58 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 1.5 percent, the CSI300 has fallen 0.3 percent while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 2.9 percent. Shanghai stocks have declined 0.06 percent this month.

** About 14.48 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 70.4 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average. The volume in the previous trading session was 15.09 billion. ** As of 07:03 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 29.74 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. ** The Shanghai stock index is below its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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